GOD GAVE US

Every good and perfect gift comes from above – James 1:17 ...

 

AS WE LEARN ABOUT GIVING in our study of 2 Corinthians 9, we have come to a point where Paul is writing to encourage us to give BOUNTIFULLY.

He uses the illustration of sowing & reaping. This is still good imagery for today. Paul specifies 4 out of the 9 basic principles of the Law of Sowing & Reaping.

  • We expect to reap so much MORE than we sow.
    • If you plant a few seeds, you’ll get a smaller return.
    • If you plant a lot of seeds, you should expect a much greater return.
  • You will reap in a different season than when you sow.
  • If you don’t sow, you won’t reap.
  • You WILL reap what you sow.

Paul then goes on to emphasize the necessity of giving by pointing out the giving done by our Creator.

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever. Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;) Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.” [2Cor 9:8-11]

Upon reading this, along with a few additional passages on the subject, we glean 5 incredible gifts given to us by God.

SEED to SOW: v10. Everything we have was created by God. Isaiah 55:10 states, “For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater::”

SEASON: God has given us the seasons, as Paul spoke in Acts 14:17, “Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” These seasons provide for the growth cycles as well as for us to see God’s might & power [Le 26:4; De 11:14; 28:12; Job 5:10; Ps 65:10; 68:9; 147:8; Jer 14:22]

SPROUTING with fruit: v10; What a comfort it is to know that God continues to provide for us the things need for life. David concluded, “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” [Psa 37:25] cr 1Cor 3:6.

SUN: When God was displaying His power to Pharaoh, He darkened the sun for 3 days. It was a darkness so dark that it could be felt. [Ex 10:21]. Every time the sun rises, take a moment to thank God for the marvelous light. [cr. Jas 1:17; 1Cor 15:41]

SIGNS: God doesn’t leave us in darkness of His will, He also gave us signs that we can read about in the Bible. “God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?” [Heb 2:4] These signs are sufficient for our faith, if we’ll just read His word. [Acts 14:3; John 20:30-31]

HIS SON: v15; No listing of God’s blessings is complete if we fail to include Christ Jesus. All other blessings pale in comparison. God’s love is demonstrated toward us through the giving of His Son as a sacrifice for the sins of man.

In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” [1John 4:9-10]

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16]

It’s a shame that people continue to reject the Grace of God given to us through Jesus, the Christ. It’s also a shame that those who have obeyed the gospel become stingy with their Time, Talents & their Treasures in service to the Almighty.

Let that not be one of us.

Denomination Dictionary

In Genesis eleven, the story of the Tower of Babel, we read where God confounded the language of mankind. One of the lessons we learn from this true story is that language has the power to unify people. Sometimes for evil, but it can also unify people for good.

To be united we need to speak the same language, and equally important, we need to define the words the same way. Though we can use our smartphones to communicate with folks who speak another language, it’s challenging to communicate with people who speak the same language but use different definitions.

One of the complications of evangelism is the fact that the terms we use are defined differently in the denominations. It’s nearly impossible to communicate with another if we’re not speaking the same language.

So that we can evangelize more effectively allow me to provide a list of common Biblical words and what they mean to the person in a denomination.

CHURCH: A building where believers gather to worship, fellowship, have trunk or treat or play games.

What Does the Bible Say? The church is the ‘Called out.’ It is the group of people which God adds a person to when they have obeyed the Gospel of Jesus Christ. [ Acts 2:47]

The church is the body of Jesus Christ, and there is only one. [Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 1:22-23, 4:4]

One must be in the church to be saved for Jesus is the savior of the body (the church). [Ephesians 5:23]

CHRISTIAN: Any person who believes in Jesus, but not necessarily an obedient or repentant person.

What Does the Bible Say? A Christian is what scripture calls those who have obeyed the gospel of Jesus Christ and are faithfully following the doctrine of Christ.

WORSHIP: The feeling that one’s whole life pays homage to God. The activity one does to pay homage to God, as long as it feels good, includes mechanical music and is followed by a lunch. It is not necessary to follow the biblical pattern to ‘worship’.

What Does the Bible Say? Jesus said that the people who worship must do so in spirit and truth [John 4:24] which means that it is heart filled as well as scripturally authorized [Matthew 18:20]. He also said that it’s possible to worship in vain [Matthew 15:9].

BAPTISM: An outward sign of an inward grace.

What Does the Bible Say? Baptism is IMMERSION in water [Ephesians 5:26] which models the DEATH, BURIAL & RESURRECTION of Jesus Christ in obedience to the Gospel [1Corinthians 15:1-4; Romans 6:1-4; 2Thessalonians 1:8]. It is an essential part of salvation for the person AFTER he, Believes that Jesus is the Christ, Repents of their sins, and Confesses that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the living God [Matthew 16:16-18; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; Rom 10:10].

GRACE: The free gift of salvation that Christ gave by dying on a cross. There is nothing a person can do to accept that free gift…except believe (unless you’re a Unitarian who thinks every person is saved without believing). Repentance is also not required, unless you’re a member of the church of Christ, in which case that person must repent of believing that repentance is an essential part of salvation. However, if you don’t bring forth fruit of the non-requirement of repentance, then you probably weren’t saved in the first place.

What Does the Bible Say? Grace is the gift of God [Ephesians 2:8], through Jesus as the perfect sacrifice, becoming the propitiation of our sins [1John 2:1-2]. Everyone can access this gift through HEARING the Gospel, BELIEVING, REPENTING of our sins, CONFESSING that Jesus is the Christ and being BAPTIZED into Christ for the remission of sins. [Romans 10:10, 17; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; Galatians 3:27].

LOVE: An emotion one must have toward everyone regardless of their lifestyle which does not judge or condemn, neither does it try to convince others to change.

What Does the Bible Say? Love is PATIENT and is KIND [1Corinthians 13:4], but it also REBUKES (convince of right or wrong) and CHASTENS (discipline / instruction). “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” [Hebrews 12:4-11].

These are just a few examples of the many Biblical words that have been redefined by denominations. My intention is not to mock, rather it is to point out that there is only one truth, and that truth is God’s word. The redefining of these words is causing many to be lead astray. Effective evangelism recognizes that the world is speaking a secular language different from the language of the Bible.

Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. John 17:17

by grace alone, by faith alone, in Christ alone?

NT Bible passages calling for obedience

The other day, a man said to me, “A person does not have to do any works of man or OF GOD.” That statement struck me as being contrary to the scriptures. I attempted to point out that there are only two types of commands, (1) those from man (2) those from God. I agree, the commands of man should be overlooked to be obedient to God, but the commands of God should never be overlooked.

In light of this discussion, I have assembled as many scriptures in the New Testament I could quickly find. Certainly, there are more. To stop the mouths of those who would accuse me of “cherry picking”, my only defense is to ask this, If I have cherry picked, so be it, but tell me then, what do these passages mean?

I plead with you, this article is written with love, kindness and a desire to know the truth.

CHILDREN OBEY PARENTS:
Eph 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
Col 3:20 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. <KJV>

SERVANTS OBEY MASTERS:
Eph 6:5 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;
Col 3:22 Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: <KJV>

The above passages are offered first to demonstrate that we understand what it means to obey. Now, let’s look at some other passages regarding obedience..

INDIVIDUALS OBEDIENCE:
Ro 15:17 Therefore I have reason to glory in Christ Jesus in the things which pertain to God. 18 For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not accomplished through me, in word and deed, to make the Gentiles obedient— <NKJV>

Ro 16:19 For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil. <KJV>

2Co 7:14 For if in anything I have boasted to him about you, I am not ashamed. But as we spoke all things to you in truth, even so our boasting to Titus was found true. 15 And his affections are greater for you as he remembers the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling you received him. <NKJV>

Php 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. <KJV>

1Pe 1:1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied. <NKJV>

Phm 1:21 Having confidence in thy obedience I wrote unto thee, knowing that thou wilt also do more than I say. <KJV>

1Pe 1:13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: <KJV>

NOT OBEYING THE GOSPEL:
Ro 10:16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? <KJV>

2Th 1:8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: <KJV>

NOT OBEYING THE WORD:
2Th 3:14 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. <KJV>

1Jo 2:3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. <KJV>

OBEYING JESUS:
Joh 14:15 ¶ If ye love me, keep my commandments.
Joh 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
JJoh 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
Joh 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
Joh 15:14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. <KJV>

Heb 5:8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; 9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; <KJV>

2Co 10:4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. <NKJV>

1Jo 2:3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. 6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. <KJV>

OBEYING GOD:
Heb 11:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. Heb 11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, <KJV>

1Jo 1:5 ¶ This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:<KJV>

1Jo 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. <KJV>

2Jo 1:6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it. <KJV>

OBEYING THE FAITH:
Ac 6:7 And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith. <KJV>

Ro 1:5 By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name: <KJV>

Ro 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. <KJV>

Ro 16:26 but now has been made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures has been made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith— <NKJV>

OBEYING THE TRUTH:
1Pe 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: <KJV>

COMMANDS OF MEN:
Mt 15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
Mr 7:7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
Col 2:22 Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? (KJV)

All of the passages listed mean something. Many are teaching a doctrine of salvation “by grace alone, by faith alone, in Christ alone”. They then go onto say what the man I met said, “A person does not have to do any works of man or OF GOD.” I believe in the scripture, Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. It says it, and I believe it. This passage does continue……Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
One more scripture I wish to share with all of you. In the entirety of Scripture, there is only ONE PASSAGE that uses the phrase, “by faith only”. One, singular, only, there is no other passage, and here it is…….

Ye see then how that by works a man is justified,
and not by faith only. Jas 2:24

Tell me, why is this the only passage in all of scripture to use this phrase if “by grace alone, by faith alone, in Christ alone” is true? Will you believe this passage also?

My only desire is to know the truth, to teach the truth for there is no other place to turn…

Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. Joh 6:68
Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. Joh 17:17